Working with animals

27 December 2013

I have often thought that working with animals was a rather strange choice of occupation. No…. I don’t mean training to be a vet, but working with the more temperamental, larger members of the animal kingdom. Elephants, monkeys, lions and tigers, for example.

Fred W R Clements was a retired camel in the Royal Engineers – Colonel, of course – but there is a travelling zoo documented in the 1911 census in Tenbury, featuring lion, bird, leopard, monkey and camel attendants as well as a lion tamer and an elephant trainer!

Like fairy, camel is the result of a fair few interesting mis-transcriptions – casual and canal being the two most commonly occurring – but there are of course the real entries for ‘camel hair ….’ workers of various kinds.

But my question for you today is: what is a camel wrapper? There are several occurrences of such an occupation in the 1911 census with one most notable entry for Lily Maria Mackenzie, aged 15, daughter of the widowed Mrs Maria Mackenzie, who rather helpfully decided to record the birth dates of her children in the birthplace column, on the census return for 1 Vincent Street, Canning Town. It appears to have something to do with sweet manufacture….

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